10/20/08 Ask Charlotte Answers

Question: Does withdrawing from a class and getting a W have any effect on your GPA? If not, what kind of an effect does it have on your transcript and such?

Answer: If you register for a class, and then withdraw from it prior to the 9-week deadline (this year, November 4), you are given a 'W' for the course. This does NOT affect your GPA, though it does appear on your transcript. A ‘W’ will not necessarily affect your time at Hartwick or your career after graduation, one way or another--as long as you do not make a habit of accumulating 'Ws.' A graduate school admissions counselor may well question a transcript with a dozen 'Ws', but I cannot imagine anyone being concerned over one or two.

Question:  Hi Charlotte, I have a question that's been giving my family and me headaches and leaving us with no answers for months now. Please aid us if you can by pointing us in the direction of whom to speak to to get this answered once and for all.

It is regarding J Term. My query is, I want to do a semester abroad sort of like an internship in India during the month of January '09 (to get my Yoga Teacher Training 200 hours completed before I have many more hours to complete to eventually become a teacher), yet the trip is not through Hartwick and I would certainly prefer being able to get some (any) amount of credit for the term instead of none...is this possible? I have known people who have graduated who while students here did internships internationally and have received credit. Yet, those individuals were business, economics, and management majors, something very far from my major (Anthropology); so, that being so, I ask you, is 'the study abroad for credit' only available for exclusive majors? Please, any quick and informative feedback/assistance you can provide me would be most appreciated. I don't have much time and do not want to miss out on this opportunity in my last year of school that I will regret perpetually if I’d not even asked about the possibilities. Thank you, be well.

Answer: It is feasible to earn Hartwick credit (usually 3 or 4 semester hours) for experiences such as yours, generally in the form of an independent study (though a freshman or sophomore would need to petition the Committee on Academic Standards for permission to register for an independent study). You will need to find a faculty member to work with on this; I would suggest contacting the Religious Studies Department or someone in the Anthropology department. With the faculty member, you will decide of what the independent study will consist—for example, a project or paper of some kind. There is a pre-registration form online that you will need to complete with the faculty member. You must then submit the completed form to the Office of Advising & Registration (OAR) as soon as possible—but certainly before departing for India.

You might also consider applying for an Emerson or Duffy Fellowship through the Center for Experiential and Integrative Learning in Golisano Hall. Those fellowships are for international study abroad and are scholarship-sponsored.

Question: Dearest Charlotte, I have a question regarding how GPAs are calculated. Is cumulative GPA calculated by total GPA credits, or by averaging each semester's GPA? For example, if, in my first semester at Hartwick I got a 3.5 with 12 credits, and in my second, I got a 4.0 with 18 credits, how would my GPA be calculated? Would it be

3.5 + 4.0 = 7.7

7.7 / 2 = 3.85 ?

 Or would it be

3.5 * 12 = 42

4.0 * 18 = 72

42 + 72 = 114

114 / 30 = 3.8 ?

Or would it be some third option, possibly even more convoluted than the second? Thank you for your patience, Charlotte. Your loveliness is surpassed only by your wisdom, maturity, and temperance.

Answer: Cumulative GPA is calculated by dividing all earned honor points by the total number of attempted semester hours. Term GPAs are not averaged. In your computations, the latter is reflective of how the calculation is achieved (assuming that your numbers are correct for attempted credits).

And many thanks for your kind words!

Question: My roommate and I are having a problem. I know pets are not allowed in the dorms but I missed my dog from home and was considering fostering a puppy for the guiding eyes program. My roommate and I discussed it and she made it clear she doesn't like animals and wouldn't be comfortable with a dog in the room. I took her feelings into consideration and didn't do the program. A week later she comes back from town with a ferret. Yes. A ferret. It's nasty and bites, it stinks and has peed all over our room. I had one crazy time trying to explain to my RA what the smell was. I didn't tell my RA what it was because I don't want to get into trouble. I do not like this thing, and it's against the rules to have in a dorm. What do I do?

Answer: I think it is time to sit down and have an honest talk with your roommate. Let her know that you do not appreciate her new pet and that she needs to find a new home for it immediately or you will be forced to speak to your RA about it.

It is clear from your experience with this animal why there are restrictions on pets in the residence halls—safety and hygiene, not to mention odor.

Question: When reviewing mid-term grades on Web Advisor I need to know what the codes mean in column 1.

Answer: I believe the 'codes' you refer to are the course numbers and section—for example, ENGL-110-03 refers to section 03 (which meets Monday, Wednesday, & Friday from 10:10 to 11:05) of English 110 (a composition course).

Question: Charlotte, I have a friend who is going a little off the deep end about the environment. I car pool, I recycle but this friend constantly accuses me of wasting energy because I leave a fan on in my room while I'm in class. My roommate and I agree on leaving the fan on because our room is a first floor room and our RD tells us it's right above the water heater/boiler and our room gets sweltering at night. This fan thing apparently annoys my friend to the point where she's come into our room without knocking and shut off the fan and then walked out. She's even taken the fan out of our room when we were gone and said we could have it back only if we promised to be more energy conscious. I understand that being green is a good thing, but this is interfering on my personal space. I don't want to report her to the RD but what else can I do? Talking doesn't seem to work.

Answer: Your friend—however well-intentioned she may be—is crossing a line when she enters your room without your permission to either turn off the fan or remove it. I suggest you clarify this with her, and let her know that if you feel you need to report this to the RD, you will. Meanwhile, keep your door locked.

At the same time, although my experience with electric fans is not extensive, it seems that there is little long-term advantage to leaving them on when no one is in the room. If you are warm at night, it may well be adequate to put the fan on upon your arrival back in your room. It could be worth a try!